Hell Abolished, God Adopts Gold Sticker System02/07/2008
By Jane Lebak
HEAVEN—One week after beginning His new Self-Esteem Initiative, God reports mixed responses to the biggest change in Human-Divine interaction since the Incarnation.
“We’ve seen gains in both behavior and morale,” the Almighty said during a press conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., “but it’s not conclusive whether these trends will hold.”
Last week’s policy change came as a surprise to many. “It took a few days to get used to receiving a sticker whenever I did a good deed,” said Roberta Davenport of New York City, showing off three stickers on her coat that say “Good Job,” “Well Done,” and “You’re A Star!”
As reported at last week’s press conference, after reading a book on self-esteem in children, the Lord realized that all “Children of God” could benefit from immediate positive reinforcement.
“As it turned out,” the Lord said, “tossing sinners into Hell was seriously damaging their self-esteem.”
“This just goes to show that you’re never omnipotent or omnipresent enough not to learn a thing or two from time to time,” the Archangel Gabriel said. “Do we serve a great God or what?! What a guy!”
Support for the initiative came from at least one surprising source.
“This initiative couldn’t have come soon enough,” said the original Prince of Darkness, Satan, who wept openly at the press conference. Satan wore a “Nice try!” sticker, “If I’d had one of these way back when, things could have been different. A lot different.”
In the first phase of the initiative, angels were dispatched to Earth with hundreds of thousands of rolls of stickers. Whenever a human was “caught in the act” of doing something terrific, such as praying, helping another, reading the Bible, or working for peace, the angels were charged to present the human with a sticker.
“The first time it happened,” Davenport said, “I was terrified. But the angel put the sticker on my coat, and it wasn’t scary at all.”
However, within a few days, in the face of numerous complaints from those with no stickers, adjustments were made to the system.
“This is a work in progress,” Gabriel said. “We opted to reward those who avoided certain sins.”
“This guy cut me off in traffic,” said Marty Michaelson of Boston, “and I was going to run him over, but I only flipped him the bird and blasted my horn. At the next intersection, an angel gave me this.” Michaelson pointed to a sticker on his lapel that read, “Didn’t commit homicide.”
“That makes me feel good, because I really wanted to kill that ... guy.”
Just as Michaelson cut himself short, an angel handed him a sticker reading,
“Didn’t say %*$!”
Gabriel bristled at one reporter’s suggestion that the Heavenly Host is having difficulty adjusting.
“We carry out God’s orders no matter what they are, but we weren’t trained for this,” Gabriel noted. “It’s a change of pace.’
The Archangel showed the reporters a certificate that read, “Gave Out Lots Of Stickers!” “We get them too, so that’s nice.”
Still, Gabriel admitted, there are difficulties.
“You want to make sure everyone knows that they’re valued, and that’s how we ended up with the childbirth debacle,” the archangel said.
“At first, mothers were given a sticker to reward them for giving birth to their babies, but then fathers complained of feeling left out, so they too received a sticker. Within days, the nursing staff got upset about the lack of recognition, and then the obstetricians. In its final implementation, even the baby receives a sticker that reads “For Being Born!”
On Tuesday, God plans to release all souls from Hell and award them a white Participant Ribbon.
“I wouldn’t want them to feel bad about themselves,” the Almighty said with a chuckle.
An undated file photo of Heaven shows that the 24 Elders and the Four Living Creatures no longer sing praises to God around the Throne, but rather give the Lamb numerous gold star stickers.
“This is a terrific turn of events,” exclaimed Saul Boutmi, author of Apathy is a Valid Option. “Now we have proof that God loves us all, so everyone will be motivated to do their best. All that was in darkness before has been put into the light.” And as he says this, he shows off his sticker which says, “Wrote a Book.”
At the conclusion of the press conference, God displayed a trophy inscribed with the words, “World’s Best God.”
“Natural consequences just weren’t doing it,” the Almighty said. “Waiting for the next life for their eternal reward was too tough. This initiative will surely underscore what’s actually worthwhile.”